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University of Iowa News Release

April 21, 2004

'Freedom Sings' Performance Will Highlight First Amendment April 28

"The Star-Spangled Banner," "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "Puff, the Magic Dragon" might seem an eclectic concert mix, but they are tied together as just a few of the hundreds of American popular songs that have been challenged or suppressed because of controversy over their content. These and other songs that have shaped our nation will be performed at "Freedom Sings," a live music, multi-media performance celebrating freedom of expression on Wednesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at the IMU Main Lounge at the University of Iowa.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert is free and open to the public. The program is sponsored by the UI Student Government, the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Iowa City Press Citizen. For more information, call University Box Office at 319-335-3041.

Using musical performance, film, photographs and narration, the 90-minute program covers almost three centuries of banned or censored music in America. It encourages a fresh look at the First Amendment, popular music and freedom of speech.

"Freedom Sings" features a cast of six professional musicians who have won four GRAMMY awards. The lineup includes Bill Lloyd (formerly of Foster and Lloyd), GRAMMY Award winners Don Henry ("Where've You Been," recorded by Kathy Mattea), Craig Krampf, (drummer and producer) and two-time GRAMMY winner Ashley Cleveland (for her albums "Lesson of Love" and "You Are There"). Rounding out the cast are vocalist and actress Shonka Dukureh and singer/songwriter Jason White, who wrote the Tim McGraw hit, "Red Ragtop."

"Freedom Sings" is an ongoing, national program of the First Amendment Center and began with a 1999 concert at Nashville's renowned Bluebird Cafe. The program began touring college campuses nationwide in 2000. Special performances have included major journalism association annual conferences, The Bottom Line in New York City, public radio's weekly E-Town and the annual conferences of such groups as the Folk Alliance, The Americana Music Association and the National Association of Broadcasters. The show has also been featured on the weekly Close-Up on C-Span program.

Americans tend to take the First Amendment for granted. "Freedom Sings is all about shaking off that mindset with drums, guitars, and a little help from our friends," said Ken Paulson, executive director of the First Amendment Center and creator of the program. "The First Amendment protects all those things that give life flavor: literature, poetry, film, dance and music. Artists have a huge stake in the future of freedom."

More information is available on the First Amendment Center website,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center, 615-727-1303,; Betsy Bryant, UISG, 319-400-0876,